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10 years of LOFAR highlights: LOFAR pioneers new way to study exoplanet environments

With the help of LOFAR, astronomers have been able to indicate the presence of a planet around a red dwarf star and with that, prove a theory that was composed with observations of Jupiter and its moon Io.

Published by the editorial team, 5 June 2020

Red dwarfs have a very strong magnetic field. Due to their relatively small size, a potentially habitable planet needs to be close to the Red Dwarf. Therefore, this planet is exposed to intense magnetic activity, which results in radio emissions. Due to its high sensitivity, LOFAR is able to detect these radio waves.

This video shows how the Red Dwarf and the orbiting planet interact and produce radio waves.

On 12 June 2020, LOFAR celebrates its tenth anniversary. The radio telescope is the world’s largest low frequency instrument and is one of the pathfinders of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which is currently being developed. Throughout its ten years of operation, LOFAR has made some amazing discoveries. It has been a key part of groundbreaking research, both in astronomy and engineering. Here we feature some – but definitely not all – of these past highlights, with surely more to come in the future.



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